Perhaps you’ve asked this question before.
Or you’ve wondered how bloggers make a living when all they seem to do is publish free content.
Well, it is an excellent question, and let’s be honest – it’s one that many people struggle with.
So let’s talk about it.
How free content works
People love to discover new ideas that help to solve the problems they face in their lives and in their work.
If you consistently publish free, valuable content that helps them to solve the problems that they struggle with, you differentiate yourself from others in your industry (read: competitors) who don’t think they should waste their time doing the same.
The content that you publish will help your readers and inspire their loyalty.
It will keep them coming back to you for more good ideas and helpful resources. Your readers will start to trust you and to recommend your content to their friends and peers as well.
Gradually your reader base will grow larger and larger as they start to perceive you as the expert in your particular category.
They will ask themselves:
“If I’m getting so much value from her free content, I wonder how much more value I could get from her paid products.”
So eventually when you have a product or a service to sell, your readers will gladly part with their money because they already know how much value you routinely provide.
Will all your readers become paying customers? No.
Is there a risk that your competitors might copy your ideas and start their own thing? Yes.
Then what’s the point?
Remember these three things.
First, you don’t have to give away everything. Give away enough information to help others and to attract and retain eyeballs. But don’t give away so much that others will know how to duplicate your efforts.
Second, even if they do copy your ideas, remember that no one else can do it like you can.
Your style, your quality, your work ethic and your personality cannot be duplicated. Prospects will choose to work with you because they have come to know, like and trust you through your great content. Your trustworthiness and likeability are unique qualities that your competitors cannot match!
And finally regarding your readers. A fraction of them will either pay you for your services or recommend you to others who need your services. It happens all the time. Even with traditional advertising, not everyone who sees your ad will pick up the phone and call you.
All business is a risk. That’s why it takes a special kind of person to be an entrepreneur.
One more thing
This stuff doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to create strong ties (based on trust and likeability) with your readers – ties that will result in business opportunities. So if you’re expecting to get rich quick, or to become the ‘go-to’ resource after a few months of blogging, think again. In this business, patience goes a long, long way.
Over to you: What do you think about free content? Is it a waste of time or are there real business opportunities to be had? Please leave a comment in the box below.